Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Brief History of Transhumanism 3c

Rosicrucians and their transhumanist leanings.

Many consider Count St. Germain to have been a Rosicrucian.  But this group is more than the Count.

The Secret Order Of The Rosicrucians
The Rosicrucians are non-catholic Christians who began in the 1600s in Europe.  The order was first announced to the public with the publication of a book entitled, The Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosencreutz published in 1616.  It is an anonymous work, although many historians attribute it to Lutheran theologian named Johann Valentin Andrea, since his is the only name mentioned in the book. and since towards the end of his life he confessed to having written it.  It is one of the first European works on Chemistry.  It is an alchemical work, which is what dominated the early studies of Chemistry.

The story in the book is best summarized by an extract from the website of the History of Science Collections of the University of Oklahoma Libraries.  The plot of the book reads thus,
The parable recounted in the Chymische Hochzeit involves an elderly man named Christian Rosencreutz, who unexpectedly finds himself invited to a royal wedding. The invitation, which displays the Monas hieroglyphica of John Dee (above), is delivered to him by an angel who blasts loudly on a trumpet. After an arduous journey on foot, Rosencreutz barely reaches the castle in time to be admitted. Readers won’t forget the almost heart-breaking humility and modesty with which he conducts himself through the trials that he and the other guests must endure on each of the story’s seven days, leading finally to the accomplishment of the alchemical Great Work. Rosencreutz almost cannot believe that he has been deemed worthy to attend such an event, and before each trial believes himself unable to overcome it; indeed, most of the guests prove unworthy, and are expelled after the trials of the first two days. This vividly-told story is rich in details and wonders, such as the enigmatical play that the guests watch with the king and queen on the fourth day, and Rosencreutz’s illicit visit to the beautiful underground crypt of Venus on the morning of the fifth day. The journey to an island on a fleet of seven ships later during the fifth day lends the story an epic feel; and it is on this island that the few remaining guests gradually ascend through each floor of a tower while accomplishing the sequential stages of an alchemical operation on the sixth day.
The entire book is understood to be symbolic.  It is believed to have special meaning to alchemists. The Rosicrucians were of a similar tradition as St. Germain, thus, they also spoke of elixirs of life.  This is why we include them in a discussion of transhumanism.  They signed an agreement according to the book to six principles:
"No one who has seen the true light can gainsay that this angels' food which strengthens and preserves the inner man is contained and concealed in all bodies including elementary bodies, and therefore in the air, food and drink we enjoy."
George von Welling 1735
1. That none of them should profess any other thing than to cure the sick, and that gratis.
2. None of the posterity should be constrained to wear one kind of habit, but to follow the custom of the country.
3. Every year, upon the day C., they would meet together at the house Santi Spiritus, or write the cause of their absence.
4. Every Brother should seek a worthy person to succeed him after his death.
5. The word CR should be their seal, mark, and character.
6. The Fraternity should remain secret one hundred years.

Rosicrucians Efforts To Surpass Normal Human Limits
Many Rosicrucians, like other alchemists attempted to produce the sought after elixir of life.  It had other names, such as Tinctura Physicorum, Panacea (from the Greek word meaning heal all), Stone of the Wise,  and Universal Tincture.  In his book, A Rosicrucian Notebook: The Secret Sciences Used by Members of the Order, Willy Schrodter explains the abilities of these elixirs:
...the "Universal Tincture" not only made gold and bestowed health but impaired spiritual powers.  That is to say, it increased the human senses until they became super-sensitive or clairvoyant, clair-audient, clairminded, and the astral body - the basis of every occult phenomenon - gained ascendancy over the physical body and become competent to act on its own account (astral travel, the Indian mayavirupa).
Jan Baptist van Helmodt
Schrodter goes on to explain that the "...elixir is the liquidized etheric Life Force and the Stone is the solidified etheric Life Force, stored up in a minimu quantity of fluid or solid as the case may be."

Jan Baptist van Helmont (1579-1644), known as the father of pneumatic chemistry, was the first one to use the word gas in scientific writings.  He was also an alchemist.  This can be seen from his son Franciscus Mercurious van Helmont's efforts to publish some of his works.  His son was also a Kabbalist and alchemist.

Carl Reichenbach
Carl Reichenbach (1788-1869), experimented with a alchemical phoenomena named the Odic Force (which many alchemists called the fourth state of matter) in an article titled, Researches on Magnetism, Electricity, Heat and Light in their Relations to Vital Forces, which appeared in a scientific journal Annalen der Chemie und Physik.  In this article, Reichenbach stated that,
(1) the Odic force had a positive and negative flux, and a light and dark side. (2) Individuals could forcefully "emanate" it, particularly from the hands, mouth, and forehead. (3) Odic force had many possible applications.
Georg von Welling a German alchemist wrote a book titled, Mago-Caballisticum in 1735. This work influenced Goethe's famous 19th century novel Faust which dealt with an alchemist who had sold his soul to the devil in return for immortality.  Thus Faust speaks these words in Goethe's great work, the words of a true alchemist,
To grant me a vision of Nature's forces, that bind the world, all its seeds and sources and innermost life - all this I shall see, and stop peddling in words that mean nothing to me.  (Faust, lines 382-5)
Another story being circulated at those times was that of the perpetual lamp.  This perpetual lamp was filled with a special oil known as far back as at least Roman times.  These lamps allowed a body to be preserved in perfect condition in an enclosed space.  According to Paul Sedir in his book Histoire et Doctrines des Rose-Croix,
The secret of preparing everlasting laps is ascribed to the Rosicrucians, and was also possessed by the Romans so it would appear.  The secret consisted in the manufacture by hermetic art of a certain golden oil which supplied the wick with all the necessary materials for the combination while, at the same time, ceaselessly renewing them.  Antiquarian investigations mention several such lamps.  Two were discovered in the reign of Henry VIII (1491-1547) at the time of the Dissolution of Monasteries in England (ca.1533-1539); they had been burning since the fourth century, in other words for about twelve hundred years.  They are being kept at Leyden museum, Holland.
Manly Hall states that many of these perpetual lamps were found in different parts of Europe, all the way from mentions by the ancient Roman writer Plutarch to as late as 1550 on the island of Nesis in the Bay of Naples.  There is a curious story cited in a book written by A.S. Collin de Plancy's Dictionaire Infernal (Paris, 1818, Vol.1, p. 302-303).
In the middle of the 16th century, a grave was discovered near the Appian Way.  Inside there was the body of a young maiden, floating in some unknown fluid.  She had blonde hair caught together in a gold circlet and looked as fresh as if she were still alive.  At the feet of the corpse was a burning lamp which did not go out until air was admitted.  Some inscriptions indicated that the body was that of Tullia Cicero's daughter.  It was brought to Rome and put on display in the Capitol, where people flocked to see it.  When the foolish citizens began to venerate it as a saint, the Pope, who had a hundred means at his disposal for preventing such worship by idiots, could think of nothing better than to have this priceless piece of antiquity thrown into the Tiber.
Skeptics say that of course these lamps could not have had real fire since oxygen is required and there would not have been any in a sealed chamber after so many years.  Of course it could also be argued that it was described as fire, but could have been a light that resembled fire.  To see a discussion as to whether ancient man had access to electricity and their connection to perpetual lamps, go here.  Either way it does not matter whether these things existed or not.  These alchemists were definitely interested in preserving human bodies and tried to do so in several ways.  Where they preserving them in order to revive them at some point in the future?

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